Penn State guard Dieffenbach keeps it light to augment toughness
By Chris Adamski
Published: Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Quick on his feet — and at reading opponents' rush packages — Miles Dieffenbach is most nimble when it comes to dispensing sharp one-liners.
The Penn State guard, a Fox Chapel graduate, emerged as one of the stars of the ESPN Penn State reality program “Training Days” because of his cutting sense of humor. His contributions to the Nittany Lions' experienced offensive line aren't as much of a laughing matter.
A redshirt junior, the 6-foot-3, 295-pound Dieffenbach has been the Lions' starting left guard since the beginning of last season. He's blocked for 1,000-yard rusher Zach Zwinak, 3,000-yard passer Matt McGloin and a Penn State offense that has averaged 30 points per game during his tenure.
But ask Dieffenbach's teammates, they'll remember him for much more than just path-clearing pulls and pancake blocks.
“Every team,” running back Bill Belton said, “needs a guy like Miles Dieffenbach.
“Dieffenbach is a very funny guy; he keeps the room light. He's just a character at practice. It's kind of hard to explain – it's something you need to see in person to truly get.”
Try explaining, for example, the “Salt Game” Dieffenbach played with teammates that aired on the ESPN show: Dieffenbach quizzes a teammate, incorrect answers illicit salt shaken onto the tongue, hilarity ensues.
Dieffenbach said Tuesday that he saves the game “only for special occasions.”
“I don't want to use it too much. It'll lose its allure around the team.”
Dieffenbach is careful not to let his jokes get stale. Thus far, the character's act has anything but worn thin with his teammates.
“Miles is an awesome guy,” said sophomore safety and Shaler graduate Jesse Della Valle, Dieffenbach's roommate and a friend dating to their high school days. “He's got a personality, but he's a great guy overall and a really good guy for our team. He's a really good player and you've got to love a guy like that that can bring a lot of fun to you every day in practice and routine things like that.”
Dieffenbach isn't all fun and games. He's tough, too, as evidenced by an ugly dislocated finger suffered amid a pile of bodies during last Saturday's win against Eastern Michigan. Dieffenbach didn't want to leave the field. An official forced him to upon seeing the grisly angle of the finger.
It was popped back into place on the sidelines, and the finger won't affect Dieffenbach's status for this coming Saturday's 6 p.m. home game against Central Florida. In fact, it wouldn't come to anyone's surprise if Dieffenbach translates the experience into a punchline or two.
“That's just the way I grew up,” Dieffenbach said. “I've always been an outgoing kind of a guy who likes to keep things fun and loose. I don't know really where I got it from. There's a time and place for everything, but really, all the guys on the team, I like to have fun with them.”
There are those who perceive Dieffenbach as a “steal” of a recruit for Penn State out from under the nose of Pitt.
Dieffenbach's father, George, was a Panthers tennis coach for almost 40 years, and Miles' sister, Sarah, played for her father.
“They love Pitt,” Miles said. “For my dad, that's a big part of his life, and my sister went to school there. You can't just leave that behind — but they're definitely huge Penn State fans now.”
Chris Adamski is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @C_AdamskiTrib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Analysis: Kesler remains on Penguins’ radar as Shero looks bring back ‘Big 3’ formula
- Wikileaks founder teases about more secrets to be released
- Starkey: Steelers know when to say goodbye
- Pirates’ big risk with pitch-heavy draft focus might soon pay off
- Penguins GM Shero’s deadline deals: Addition by subtraction
- With so many needs, Steelers can ill afford to miss in draft
- Ex-Colts executive Polian: Approach free agency with caution
- Penguins minor league report: Defenseman Dumoulin optimistic for home stretch
- Greensburg woman accused of assaulting nurse in Excela Health Westmoreland Hospital
- Steelers defense doesn’t make the grade in 2013 review
- Lima claims a galaxy of star-quality restaurants